Friday, 31 March 2023

Double eagle and double bean goose day

Winter is still here and it is only in the middle of next week that we are forecast to stop having frosts. Maridalsvannet is now completely frozen again with the very small open areas where the rivers enter the lake once again covered in ice. The fields are also completely covered in snow and it will be a while before the Lapwings turn up again. There are reports from further south of large numbers of passerines in areas that are snow free so there seems to be a large wave of birds building up and waiting to push north.

Yesterday I visited the Taiga Bean Geese again. It is over a month since they first arrived but conditions are still not good for them and one wonders whether they have put on weight as they need to do before the breeding season. I expect them to be here for a couple more weeks at least and this will surely be their longest recorded layover here. The flock had increased to exactly 100 birds (don’t you hate it when that happens ūüėČ). There were no new collars/rings but X4 who I have previously seen was missing – dead or just another place?

When I first found the geese I did not have time to look at collars as they soon took to the wing and the reason soon transpired to be young White-tailed Eagle that cruised over. I enjoyed watching the eagle it then started thermalling and was mobbed by both a Buzzard and a Goshawk! Just over 5 minutes later I noticed a large raptor thermalling in the same areas and assumed it was the White-tailed again but no it was a young Golden Eagle!!! A two eagle day is no common occurrence in this part of Norway. The Golden showed was distant but showed well in the scope. Later I had both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk so 6 species of raptor is a sign that things are warming up.

After this excitement I hoped to find the Bewick’s Swan again but the field where it had been was covered in snow and there were far fewer Whooper Swans there. I returned to the Taigas and they were now back on the field allowing me to count them and read the rings.

At the start of the day I had intended to go to Aurskog-H√łland which can be very productive early in the spring but I decided instead to check out further areas along the Glomma river instead. This turned out to be a good idea when I came across a large flock of swans and geese in a snow covered field. Amongst Pink-footed, Greylag and Canada Geese I fould a group of 4 Taiga Beans and a single Tundra Bean. It is very rare that I find these two species together and it allowed a good chance to compare them. The Taigas were large birds and similar sized to Greylags whereas the Tundra was the same size as Pink-feet who it associated with. Otherwise I was surprised by how similar this Tundra was to the Taigas. It had a noticeably shorter neck but its bill shape was very similar to the Taigas- The head shape was noticeably different though with a steeper forehead.

Golden Eagle (konge√łrn) - clear moulting in the flight feathers leads me to believe this is a 3cy

White-tailed Eagle (hav√łrn) - I believe this is also a 3cy

Kestrel (tårnfalk). I had a wintering bird in January but this is my first migrant

The Taiga Beans on this years favoured field. The Taigas are mostly at the top with Pink-footed lower down


a Single Taiga with Whooper Swans showing off it swan like profile

four Taigas with a slightly out of focus Tundra Bea Goose behind on the right

The Tundra Bean with Pink-footed Geese showeing its distinctive head shape with a steeper forehead than the Taigas. Also notice the short neck and similar body size to the Pink-feet

here one of the Taigas is behind a Greylag and you can see how similar in size they are

four species of geese (the Tundra is missing)

This video has the 4 Taigas and the single Bean

this neck collared Greylag was ringed in Sweden and has been seen there every summer since but has only once been recorded away from there which was in Nov & Dec 2020 in Holland as can be seen on map below

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